HC Deb 02 November 1998 vol 318 c414W
Mr. Swinney

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answers to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing), on 26 October 1998,Official Report, column 81, relating to departmental properties, for what reason the annual running costs for each property in each country are not readily available. [57536]

Mr. Fatchett

Details of the annual running costs for each property in the overseas estate are not held centrally. Following the 1996 Fundamental Expenditure Review, geographical FCO Commands and overseas Posts were given the delegated financial authority (except in a few areas) to manage and maintain their portion of the estate. Annual running costs for the overseas estate in 1996–97 totalled £108.7 million of which more than half was for rents and rates. Costings for each property could only be compiled by approaching Posts individually. The UK has 221 Diplomatic Posts world-wide. The overseas estate consists of about 3,900 properties. To provide costs for each individual property would involve disproportionate expenditure of public funds.